On Thursday 4th April, the Principality of Monaco was the setting for the 2024 Superyacht Chef Competition and Superyacht Content was there to follow the action. Organised as part of the collective approach ‘Monaco, Capital of Advanced Yachting’, this prestigious yearly event showcases the talents of yacht chefs aboard some of the world’s most notable vessels. 

Bluewater’s Director of Training, John Wyborn, expressed his enthusiasm for the annual competition. “This event is a thrilling experience for everyone involved, with Michelin-star judges overseeing the competition among talented yacht chefs. Bluewater has been in the industry for 33 years, and this competition highlights the great strides the industry has made since then, with exceptionally high standards expected from all crew members onboard. Bluewater takes pride in collaborating with the Monaco Yacht Club and La Belle Classe Academy to organise the 5th Superyacht Chef Competition.”

Celebrating Excellence In Superyacht Gastronomy

The Superyacht Chef Competition is more than just a cooking contest; it’s a spotlight for the creativity, innovation, skill, and the artistry of haute cuisine in the yachting world. Working under pressure in front of an audience of notable judges, crew, media and Monaco Yacht Club members, nine yacht chefs battled it out in an open kitchen with superb MC’ing by gastronomic journalist and presenter, Vincent Ferniot.

With over 30 years’ experience in the yachting industry, Mark Cox, Director and Trainer at OceanWave Monaco who were a Sponsor, said the event is a testament to the growing recognition of superyacht chefs as gastronomic artists committed to excellence. “OceanWave Monaco is thrilled to return as a Sponsor. We have our accomplished Trainer and Chef Duncan Biggs who has worked on board and shoreside for 25 years overseeing the produce being used and discarded as the ‘anti-waste’ judge. It’s brilliant to see some of the Chefs who have taken our Ships Cook Certificate Assessment have the confidence and skills to compete at this exceptional level.”

A Prestigious Jury 

Supervised by Chef Joël Garault, President of Goûts et Saveurs, the highly esteemed judges panel of professional chefs included three-star Chef Glenn Viel from Oustau de Baumanière and member of the Top Chef jury who acted as President of the Jury.  Joining him was double Michelin star Chef Julien Roucheteau, Chef Fred Ramos, Chef Victoria Vallenilla and the 2023 Superyacht Chef Competition winner Chef Marco Tognon from M/Y Planet Nine.  

Chef Danny Davies, host of ‘Behind the Line with Chef Danny Davies’ with over 30 years of experience on land and sea shared his insight from the judge’s table. “It’s an absolute honour to be invited here as a judge.  It was a special experience to be a guest at a dinner the night prior to the competition with all the Jury and HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco.  The standard of competition has been outstanding, all Chefs have really delivered with excellent technical knowledge and flavour.”  In the future, Chef Danny will be setting sail as a guest Chef on board two Atlas Ocean Voyages cruises in the Caribbean and from London to Norway, and he is organising yacht chef competitions to be hosted during Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and Palm Beach.

A Culinary Triumph

The intensity of the competition partly comes down to the mystery boxes of ingredients that are revealed – the audience is given one minute to choose an extra ingredient to supplement the boxes via QR code vote, adding to the surprise.  

The fast-paced environment means that Chefs don’t have the opportunity to research recipes or fall back on their signature dishes.  Although there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes planning to set up a pop-up kitchen, there’s one thing the Superyacht Chef Competition doesn’t compromise —the 40-minute time constraint for each round (50-minutes for the grand final).  After three rounds with three Chefs, and a lunch break, three finalists put their culinary skills to the test in an intense final.  

Each contestant received an event medal and for the ‘Audience Vote for Best Plates’ the prizes went to Chef Margot Laurent from 43m M/Y Leonardo III and Chef Paulo Ucha Longhin from 50m M/Y Hercules.

And The Winner Was…

Chef Paulo Ucha Longhin emerged victorious as the overall champion, displaying a perfect balance of creativity, flavours and technique. His winning dishes were proof of his skilful approach: Glazed lobster, hazelnut butter and bisque, a lemon tartare and caviar, followed by a dessert of mascarpone cream with cocoa and strawberry tartare with basil and lemon cream.   It was a touching moment to see him claim his winner’s trophy with his young family by his side.

Second place on the day went to Ava Faulkner from 60m M/Y Light Holic – Ava grabbed attention from her first plate of the day crafted from the mystery box of black truffle, Côte de Bouef, Szechuan pepper and white truffle honey.  Her rousing acceptance speech highlighted the importance of female Chefs in the superyacht industry, following with the bronze trophy being awarded to Mateusz Mitka from 63m M/Y Lady Britt.

Every year, the event evolves as an epicentre where new ideas and cooking skills are unveiled and celebrated. As yacht chefs explore new culinary innovation and methods, one thing is clear: amazing food will always be a core part of yachting life.

To keep up to date with the latest Superyacht Content News, click here.

Sign up to our Newsletter below:

Newsletter Signup

Related articles